Three female students holding potted plants

University greenhouse reopens for learning, research and activities

February 27, 2024
By: Nancy Sheehan

Green thumbs have cause for celebration as the university’s greenhouse blossoms back to life, offering students fertile ground for research and a chance to ‘leaf’ their mark on the botanical world.

The greenhouse, located on the roof of the Ghosh Science and Technology Center, closed for repairs in early December and the newly renovated space reopened with a ribbon cutting ceremony February 11.

“The greenhouse was really starting to show its age,” Aleel Grennan, associate professor of biology and greenhouse manager, said. “The benches were not designed for greenhouse use. There was no way for water to drain off them so instead water pooled on top. Over time this led to the benches rusting and a leak had also developed on the floor.”

In addition to dismantling and disposing of the old growing tables and potting benches, the electrical infrastructure was reconfigured, a thorough cleaning of walls, windows, and lights was done, and a new epoxy floor installed, according to Sandra Olson, assistant vice president for facilities, operations, and planning. After all that work was completed, new potting benches and growing tables were installed.

The transformed greenhouse promises to be a verdant haven for students and a hub for botanical research, Grennan said. “The greenhouse is important to students because it provides a space for research and learning,” she said. “Students can use the greenhouse for their classes where they will be doing planting and it offers opportunities for hands-on experience, allowing students to engage in activities like planting seeds and repotting plants.”

 Additionally, the greenhouse eventually will house a collection of various plants, which will further enhance the learning environment for students, she said.

After the ribbon cutting, tours were offered for students, faculty, and staff. Many of the students, like Victor Martinez ’27, were surprised to learn about the existence of the greenhouse. “I’m really shocked. I didn’t know this was here,” Martinez said. “It’s really nice. I love the sunlight and the fresh air. It’s just a great environment up here.”

Priyusha Tollimalli ’27 plans to volunteer in the greenhouse and is excited that her work there can now begin. “I’m a biology major so I particularly love anything that helps me be engaged with nature,” she said. “I feel like the greenhouse also gives me a place where I can calm my mind and gather my thoughts. I’ll be working here looking after the plants – ordering them, watering them and everything so I’m excited that it’s officially open to everyone and that people can come in and look around.”

Grace Lyerla ’27 is a nursing student whose healing touch hasn’t extended to plants – so far. “I didn’t know this was here but it’s pretty cool,” she said. “I’m not really a plant person. I do like plants, but I have trouble keeping them alive, so hopefully I can come back here and learn how to keep them alive.”

Leave a Comment

See for yourself what #woolife is all about.

The best way to learn about Worcester State University is to tour our beautiful campus. Be sure to let your student tour guide know your interests so they can personalize your tour.

See the tour schedule